Andy Harris

Congressman Andy Harris speaks Thursday at a Republican fundraiser in Easton.

EASTON U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.-1st, wants more sanity brought to the nation's energy policy and thinks the focus should shift from alternative energies such as solar and wind to a controversial natural gas collection process commonly known as fracking.

Harris, in a speech given at a Talbot County Republican Central Committee fundraiser Thursday, threw his support behind hydrofracturing the process, as described by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, of pumping fluids deep into a rock formation until the pressure causes it to fracture and release natural gas.

Last year, Congress ordered the EPA to undertake a study of fracking to learn more about the process' potential effects on water systems. The documentary "Gasland" was released the same year and showed some of the side potential dangers of fracking, notably flammable tap water at nearby homes due to gas contamination.

Harris told the crowd Thursday U.S. President Barack Obama has got to stop raising taxes and stop creating more regulations holding businesses back. He said the country also needs to change its energy policy.

"We have got to get American energy policy sane. Let me put it that way," Harris said.

Harris, chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Environment Subcommittee, told the crowd Thursday he had to travel to western Pennsylvania to visit a fracking site, and blamed Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley for the lack of one in Maryland.

Harris found in Pennsylvania all the hotels booked solid by workers who traveled from Louisiana and Texas drilling wells for fracking. He said he stood on a fracking field expected to yield $100 million worth of natural gas per year.

"You can't imagine the resources we are standing on top of and this administration is stopping us from that gold rush that they're seeing in western Pennsylvania," Harris said.

Harris said Pennsylvania five years ago faced high unemployment and a poor economy. He said officials recognized those natural gas resources in the state were the key to turning around the situation.

"Ladies and gentlemen, if we want to get out of this mess, it's going to be very simple. Stop investing in Solyndra and offshore wind and start producing the natural gas that will make us the energy leaders of the world," Harris said.

Solyndra is a solar company that made headlines after receiving more than $500 million in government loans, yet has filed for bankruptcy.

Harris said Obama is not a leader. He said Obama could go to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and say the country needs to explore for natural gas, quickly and safely develop fracking and open up offshore leases for oil.

"Let me tell you something. This is America. We've got plenty of imagination. We've got plenty of ambition, but it's being held back because this president doesn't understand what it is to unleash the ability of America," Harris said.

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(5) comments

memphisg

Fracking has not been done safely and has done much harm. It is ironic that Harris, one of the only Republicans delegates in Maryland should have such negative environmental power. He should be replaced on this sub committee.

memphisg

harrisisanidiot

He says there is no proof fracking has contaminated ground water. Because water from a faucet is suppossed to catch on fire

jeffa

What a goofball. More World Wrestling Federation government from the remnants of a once-rationale Repubican Party.

MIKE6U

I dont get how there is a 'gold rush' when the workers are coming from 'Texas and Louisiana'. I was hiking thru Sullivan County PA last summer and most of those workers on the rigs are from Mexico, and dont speak English at all. The hotels are filled, great, so what the maids are getting rich? LOL. They are taking the gas out of the ground, literally bulldozing the forest and trout streams with tracked vehicles, and the state & people gets almost no tax revenue in return. In Alaska, the state at least gets the revenue first and they alaskans pay no income tax. Furthermore, if there is a big spill, and of course its a matter of when, not if, all that stuff is going to flow downhill into OUR BAY and kill fish, crabs and oysters, and there is no GOLD RUSH here in Maryland is there? we get the worst of both worlds, thanks for thinking this one through Mr. Harris. I think fracking may have its benefits, and we need domestic energy, but that's no reason to give away trout streams, forests, and human health. Why shouldn't they have to DISCLOSE what's in the fracking fluid? if its so safe TELL US WHAT IT IS. But that's a pesky regulation that would just bankrupt the oil and gas companies right? ha ha, fill up your propane tank and tell me if it was a penny less they would not be around no more. Andy Harris, bought and paid for by interests that dont even INVOLVE OUR STATE!!

DelmarvaProgressive

Andy Harris, the ideologue, continues to bluster without understanding or care for the people he represents. He is financially supported by the very corporations that will benefit from the "fracking" he endorses. Interestingly, he never talks about the environmental or health issues associated with this technique of natural gas recovery. What's really shocking is that this man is a medical doctor and should care more about his constituents' health and safety. New studies have been released, showing that "fracking" is not the safe process Harris wants everyone to think it is. Ohio has shut down it's "fracking" program because it is causing earthquakes and destabilizing the ground beneath and around the wells. Harris wants to adopt a 'scorched-earth' energy policy, without regard for the environment or the people living nearby. This is so typical of those Republicans who are more interested in capital returns than they are in the future of our children and grandchildren. This man needs a wake-up call at the polls in November!

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